THUNDER BAY – January 10, 2010 -- The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association is pleased to provide an overview of our advocacy activities throughout 2010.
Acting NOMA President Dennis Brown says, “NOMA President Anne Krassilowsky and the entire NOMA Board worked diligently throughout 2010 to bring Northwestern Ontario issues to the forefront. With a Provincial election in October, we anticipate that 2011 will be a very busy year as we persist in our efforts to make our voice heard in Queen’s Park in the year ahead.”
Members of the Board met with Opposition Leaders and numerous Provincial Ministers over the course of the year to provide the Northwestern municipal perspective on issues of vital importance to our membership including:
Minister Michael Gravelle, Northern Development Mines & Forestry
Discussed the Northern Growth Plan, Forest Tenure, and the Ring of Fire development. Minister Gravelle also participated in our meetings with other Ministers throughout the year.
Minister Jim Bradley, Municipal Affairs & Housing
Reinforced our request for an increase of $75 per household to the Northern Communities Grant. We also stressed the importance of the OMPF and Mitigation funding for our municipalities.
Minister Linda Jeffrey, Natural Resources
Outlined our concerns regarding the Endangered Species Act, and the Far North Act and their potential negative impact on our mining and forestry industries.
Minister Brad Duguid, Energy
We met with the Minister on two occasions to express the need for Electricity Generation and Transmission Upgrades to enable economic development (especially in those areas with emerging mining opportunities), and to repeat our request for a permanent, affordable industrial energy rate.
Minister Deb Matthews, Heath & Long Term Care
We met with the Minister on two occasions to outline our concerns about the current use of EMS for non-urgent patient transfers as this is neither efficient nor effective service and compromises the ability of EMS to provide emergency services. We provided the Minister with a discussion paper that outlines four options for the provision of non-urgent patient transfers and we look forward to continuing to work with her office to come to a suitable solution.
Minister Kathleen Wynne, Transportation
Expressed the importance of the TransCanada Highway and the need to improve this vital highway corridor with more rest stops, pull offs, and ultimately four-laning.
Minister Bob Chiarelli, Infrastructure
We participated in the Government’s Infrastructure Consultations where we outlined our infrastructure priorities. We also recommended: expansion of the Provincial Gas Tax Program to include all public infrastructure, the development of a no/low-interest loan program, the need to make funding programs accessible to small communities by simplifying the application process, and the need for funding support to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
NOMA represents the interests of municipalities from the Kenora and Rainy River in the west to the Wawa in the east. It provides leadership in advocating regional interests to all orders of government and other organizations.